Yesterday we had another good time of "devotions". We're in Genesis, and just completed the first 11 chapters in our little study and discussion.
As usual, I brought up things that did not always resonate with everyone else, I believe. Not because I want to be controversial, I hope. In some circles I might be labeled a conservative and even a "fundamentalist". Though in other circles I've already been labeled a liberal, at least in some views.
Leaving that half hour of "devotions" yesterday, I was scratching my head, so to speak, trying to figure out that all too familiar phenomena we and I experience in that time together. I told a good friend, who is part of that group and probably more where I'm at, that there are three words, that in many discussions are three of my favorite: "I don't know."
There are many things that by faith we know, that by faith we accept as true, even though we likely do not understand it all that well. For me the story found in Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation is true. But I simply do not see that story in the same way as I used to. Years ago it had to do with propositions and truth from those propositions, more than anything else. Not that all those propositions were bad or untrue, but we didn't see, adequately, the story, and the flow of that story, nor the place of the story, within all of Scripture.
Within that story, I find some theological paradigms people hold break down. And so do many of our explanations. And things that we think we know. These especially break down when Jesus comes.
In Scot McKnight's new book- I think it will become a classic- The Real Mary, we find that Mary knew Scripture, and her faith was strong, as she responded in faith to the Lord's word to her, through the angel Gabriel. But we see along the way, that she really did not understand the meaning of all that she knew. Her journey of faith meant arriving to new understandings of what her son's fulfillment of being the son of David who would rule over all, in God's kingdom- would mean, especially for her day (and today).
A fundamental disposition we need when coming to Scripture is the attitude expressed in the words: "I don't know." This can help us be more teachable. To ponder things more in our hearts. And learn so much more. And so avoid any cut and dried Christianity, that has all the answers.
So I expressed to my friend yesterday, that I think, in the words of Brian McLaren, I have become "a new kind of Christian". One that doesn't want to leave our Christian heritage behind, expressed through the centuries by people, very diverse in their interpretations of Scripture. Yet united in their orthodoxy as part of the Church. Standing united with it, even in the midst of disagreement.
Being a new kind of Christian, means I am agnostic about a good number of things. Do I believe the Bible is true? Yes. Absolutely. But what does that always mean? In Genesis 1-3 this can be particularly difficult. But I don't care if that's mythic in recounting the history of humanity. For me, whatever the genre is, being used there, and however that was understood, even by the first recipients of it (including Moses), I believe it is true, and is from God. And is for our good. To lead us to Jesus Christ, and the kingdom of God, come, in him.
Do you struggle with any of this yourself? And how does it play out in your life and thought?